By on February 13, 2017

2010_volkswagen_jetta_wagon_front_-_10-31-2009

U.S. owners of illegally polluting Volkswagen diesels have already flown to sunny vacation spots or picked up a new vehicle with the help of buyback and compensation checks. North of the border, over 100,000 Canadians who own a 2009-2016 TDI model are waiting for their cut of a $2.1 billion settlement.

However, Volkswagen’s “we’re sorry” gravy train isn’t rolling into everyone’s driveway. Some owners are finding that their vehicles are stuck in a cross-border limbo. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

tdiengine

Ferdinand Piëch, former chairman of Volkswagen and grandson of Beetle creator Ferdinand Porsche, is in hot water with his former company.

The ex-chairman resigned in April 2015 — five months before the diesel emissions scandal broke — after the company’s steering committee put his future to a vote. Piëch lost after his rival, then-CEO Martin Winterkorn, saw VW management rally to his side.

A suspiciously hostile divide existed between both men at the time, and recent comments by Piëch may explain why the two doomed executives became such bitter enemies. To say that VW’s supervisory board isn’t happy with his comments would be an understatement. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

2014 Audi A7 TDI (11 of 34)

Owners of certain Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles caught up in the diesel emissions scandal will receive hefty payouts, even if their vehicles aren’t bought back by the manufacturer.

Volkswagen and supplier Robert Bosch GmbH have agreed to a settlement worth a combined $1.55 billion, Reuters reports. The agreement covers about 80,000 vehicles outfitted with emissions-cheating 3.0-liter diesel V6 engines — 20,000 of which will return to the automaker for good.

While parting with a beloved luxury vehicle can be difficult, cold hard cash has a way of softening the emotional blow. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, Volkswagen’s outgoing compliance chief, will receive at least $12 million for her time with the company — with the possibility for as much as $16.1 million (15 million euros). Hohmann-Dennhardt, who was brought on to get VW through its messy emissions crisis, was canned by the automaker last week. The company attributed the “amicable” split to a “disagreement in the understanding of responsibilities and future operating structures within the function she leads.”

New reports indicate that a central aspect of those disagreements involved Volkswagen’s upper management attempting to stop Hohmann-Dennhardt from exposing any additional information on how the emissions scandal transpired.  (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

Martin Winterkorn, Image: Volkswagen AG [CC BY 3.0]/Wikimedia Commons

German prosecutors say their investigation into Volkswagen’s dirty dealings now includes the company’s former CEO, Martin Winterkorn.

The long-running probe into the diesel emissions scandal recently expanded from 21 suspects to 37, Reuters reports, placing Winterkorn solidly under the microscope. Winterkorn stepped down just days after the scandal went public in September 2015.

The former top boss recently emerged from the shadows to tell a German committee he knew nothing of the decade-long conspiracy under his watch, though prosecutors suspect he may have known more than that. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2017

VW logo

Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, Volkswagen Group AG’s compliance chief, is leaving the company after disputes with VW’s senior management regarding her responsibilities. Those duties primarily revolve around ensuring the automaker adheres to regulatory requirements — something Volkswagen has had a difficult time with as of late.

After only a year with the company, Volkswagen confirmed Hohmann-Dennhardt will be leaving at the end of this month. According to an official statement, her exodus is “due to differences in their understanding of responsibilities and future operating structures within the function she leads.”

Considering her role on the supervisory board consisted wholly of seeing Volkswagen through the devastating emissions crisis while improving its image and ensuring it did not commit anymore egregious unlawful acts, you have to wonder what those differences in understanding entailed.  (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2017

Martin Winterkorn, Image: Volkswagen AG [CC BY 3.0]/Wikimedia Commons

As far as anyone knows, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn spent the last 16 months on a desert island.

After resigning his post in the turbulent days after the diesel emissions scandal went public, Winterkorn stayed out of the spotlight, shying from any public appearances. That is, until now. As indictments land in executives’ laps and top brass grow wary of leaving the country, Winterkorn showed his face to a parliamentary committee in Berlin. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

Volkswagen Dealer Sign (Image: Rob Brewer/Flickr)

Three German judges claim that Volkswagen’s actions leading up to the diesel emissions scandal was akin to putting horse meat in lasagna.

Bloomberg reports that the comparison was made when a court in Hildesheim ordered the car manufacturer to buy back someone’s Skoda Yeti at full sticker price. The ruling was warranted, as VW intentionally committed fraud, the court said. (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2017

800px-wolfsburg_vw-werk

After a Volkswagen official was collared in Miami while on vacation, other top company officials have been warned to stay close to home.

Oliver Schmidt, who allegedly lied to environmental regulators to cover up VW’s emissions cheating, was arrested by FBI agents Saturday while returning home from a Cuban holiday. According to Reuters, Schmidt, one of six former or current VW managers indicted on multiple charges this week, could face up to 169 years in a U.S. prison if found guilty.

After the FBI’s lucky airport break, a new report suggests top brass in Wolfsburg are feeling penned in. Kiss that winter vacay goodbye. (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of installing emissions software in 104,000 diesel Rams and Jeeps that violates the Clean Air Act.

According to the regulator, which made its announcement this morning, FCA failed to declare “eight auxiliary emissions control devices” during the EPA certification process. Those devices were installed on 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.

The regulator has sent a notice of violation to the automaker.

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

Volkswagen TDI

The United States has now laid charges against six former or current Volkswagen officials for their role in the diesel emissions scandal.

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment today, fingering the execs for playing key roles in a decade-long conspiracy to deceive the U.S. government and public. While five of the men live in Germany, one man — Oliver Schmidt, former head of VW’s regulatory compliance department — was nabbed by the FBI in a Miami airport on Saturday while attempting to return to Germany.

As the charges were handed down, the embattled automaker pleaded guilty to three criminal federal counts and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

Volkswagen TDI

A Volkswagen executive who allegedly spent more than a year throwing up smoke screens around the emissions-cheating automaker has been arrested in sunny Florida.

Oliver Schmidt, a former top emissions compliance manager assigned to the U.S., ran defense for the company in the long run-up to the diesel revelations. As allegations mounted and regulators began asking questions, Schmidt and other company officials blamed phony technical problems for the sky-high emissions levels seen during real-world testing.

According to the New York Times, Schmidt, a German national, was nabbed on Saturday and charged by the FBI with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.  (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2017

tdiengine

Assuming owners of 2.0-liter diesel Volkswagens aren’t so pissed at the company that thoughts of cash extraction and corporate punishment fill their every waking hour, up to 70,000 of the little polluters could be spared.

After failing multiple times to whip up a fix for the emissions-rigged engines, VW has made a breakthrough with the U.S. government. That means owners of certain VW and Audi vehicles have a choice to make. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2017

lawsuit

The first person sentenced in the sprawling Volkswagen emissions scandal is headed to jail in South Korea, but the man who helped design the defeat smog-spewing engines will have to wait for his punishment.

Reuters reports an executive of VW’s South Korean division was handed a sentence of one year, six months today for his side-role in the diesel deception. Meanwhile, a German engineer who was the first employee charged in the scandal will cool his heels a little while longer.

It seems he’s just too useful. (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2017

Matthias Müller

Volkswagen’s chief executive officer, Matthias Müller, will be taking a pass on the North American International Auto Show this year. VW still needs to settle things with the U.S. Department of Justice, and is desperate to reach a criminal settlement before the Obama administration is replaced by Trump.

Of course, there is also the matter of public embarrassment. At the 2016 NAIAS Müller took some serious heat for telling National Public Radio that Volkswagen did not lie when initially questioned about its emission-cheating diesel vehicles. The CEO may indeed be busy overseeing the criminal settlement with the DOJ, but there has to be a little leftover humiliation from last year’s awkwardness.  (Read More…)

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